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As the global economic crisis bites ever harder, its effects can be felt in many different ways. Loss of jobs and reductions in salaries, wages and pensions frequently have the most direct impact on nurses and their families, but also on those they care for. In turn prices rise, and for some the horror of losing homes may be the devastating sequel when families are faced with insurmountable costs. We have not even begun to count the health effects of such individual tragedies.

Other economic effects may appear to be minor when compared with such life-changing events but, in turn, these can ultimately affect careers and job opportunities. Libraries, for example, may find that journal subscriptions are cut or reduced. The subsequent loss of income for publishers may result in their containing any planned expansion, such as increasing the number of issues or pages.

It is in this climate that we are pleased to announce a modest increase in the number of pages for INR for the 2012 calendar year. The increase will result in 576 pages overall and 528 pages for original articles. Even so, this allows space during the year for only 75 articles, providing that the average number of pages per article is contained to just seven. In the first ten months of 2011, INR received 226 manuscript submissions with a current rejection rate of approximately 50 percent. Authors should always remember therefore that every extra page for their article is one less for someone else.

Manuscript acceptance also depends on the quality of an article, and one major aspect in an international journal is the use of language. This is particularly difficult for authors whose first language is not English, and therefore I was delighted to receive the letter published on page z, giving advice to authors in this situation. This advice may be invaluable where an article's content is good, but the English is poor.

In the current economic situation, and as health care becomes ever more complex and expensive, it is inevitable that managers will seek new ways to introduce efficiencies into health systems. (This issue contains articles about ICN Workforce Forums held recently in Stockholm and Macau during which nurse leaders shared ideas and experiences related to the socio-economic welfare issues.) In this context, senior nurses find themselves having to defend the nursing workforce against cost-cutting measures and, at the same time, provide leadership for nurses who are asked constantly to do ‘more with less’.

The need for leadership in nursing has been a perennial issue in nursing practice, education and research, and never more so than in the current climate. For many years ICN has been actively involved in developing nurse leaders through its Leadership for ChangeTM initiative. In 2009, a global level leadership development opportunity for senior and executive level nurses arose when ICN welcomed a funding partnership with Pfizer Inc. to establish the Global Nursing Leadership Institute (GNLI). Two articles in this issue report on this development (pages), and one explores in detail what it meant to be a participant in the 2010 GNLI. Additional support has been gained from the Burdett Trust for Nursing and it is encouraging to report that this initiative is set to continue for the foreseeable future.

So, as I write this editorial towards the end of 2011 with an uncertain economic future in 2012, it is wonderful to have some good news to report. By showing solidarity in nursing and doing good in innumerable small ways, nurses will surely overcome the present difficulties.